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Akuma kun (悪魔くん)

akuma kun

When we were in Tokyo last spring our trip coincided with the Tokyo International Anime Fair on Odaiba at Tokyo Big Sight. We took the kids and had a great time. Unfortunately, my SD card in my camera crapped out on me and all of those pictures were lost. (As were all of my tsukiji pictures… arrggh…)

Amongst the tens of thousands of people at the anime show were a few foreigners, but my kids were the only foreign kids that I saw. With my daughter’s blond hair we really stuck out and got lots of attention. We even got to bypass the line to get in (which was, and I’m not exaggerating, over a mile long). Skipping the line had to do with the fact that we were a family rather than our foreignness or my daughter’s hair color.

At the fair a bunch of characters came up to us in costume for pictures. They weren’t familiar to me, but they looked great in a crazy way. They then pulled my kids into a baseball game of sorts that my son won by hitting the ball through someone’s legs. His prize consisted of some posters and gifts related to the anime or manga they were promoting. They’ve been hanging on his wall ever since. The title? ge ge ge no kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎)

Recently I became interested in the author of gegege, Shigeru Mizuki (水木 しげる), because of a biography on him in a magazine. I wanted to read some of his manga, which aren’t easy to come by in the states. However, through the university I’m affiliated with I can check out books located at virtually any college or university located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. The only one they had available with Mizuki San as the author was Akumakun Seikimatsu Taisen (悪魔くん世紀末大戦).

I read Akumakun Seikimatsu Taisen this past week and have mixed feelings about the content. The illustrations and characters are outstanding. However, the story is rather hit and miss. Occasionally it is brilliant, but at other times it seems like it was written by a 10 year old who ran out of ideas. For instance, at the end, using the magic flute to call one of the disciples (because he can’t stand the sound) is very clever. But then to use the same flute a few pages later to wipe out the numerous godzilla-like creatures who are coming out of the ocean to attack Tokyo lacks creativity. A few minutes of thought could have provided a more unusual and original way to take on those sea-dwelling monsters.

Anyway, it was mostly fun to read. I was even able to recognize, without a dictionary, some of the words that I learned by reading Harry Potter in Japanese that I never thought I would need to know again like tsue (杖) for magic wand or staff. This book lacks furigana so you’ll need to know a fair amount of kanji to read it without constantly referring to a dictionary.

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